MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo may have qualified his factory Yamaha on the front row for Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix, but he needs a 'miracle' to repeat his 2010 home win.
Lorenzo, the only non-Honda rider to win a race this year, will start behind factory RCV riders Marco Simoncelli and Casey Stoner.
Although Lorenzo's best lap was only 0.315sec from Simoncelli, he feels that his M1 cannot match the Hondas.
“It has been a tough session today. In the morning it was good but in the afternoon we struggled a little bit," said Lorenzo. "I pushed as hard as I could for pole but it was not possible.
"The race will also be tough because we are still quite far from the front but not as far as yesterday. If we can take one or two tenths we can fight for something, but I think a win would be a miracle.”
Lorenzo's downbeat words may be at least partially aimed at lowering the home fans' expectations, while increasing the pressure on Yamaha to deliver developments.
Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg revealed the main priority for tomorrow is to solve a front-end handling problem.
“Not the best qualifying we've had so far. This morning it went well and we made some adjustments after that. This afternoon they didn't really work out, Jorge was missing some front end feeling so was pushing hard, we need to solve that for tomorrow. Anyway we are happy to be on the front row because that's important but it's more important now to solve our front end problem.”
Team-mate Ben Spies qualified a fraction slower than Lorenzo to head row two of Sunday's grid.
“It was a good session although we were missing a little bit of time out there," said Spies, a best of sixth from the four races held this year. "Looking at the ideal split times it would have put us on the front row. We're in a good position in fourth all the way to the left of the grid so hopefully we can have a good start and have a good first couple of corners.
"The bike is working really well and we've been top five for most of the weekend. The weather's looking like it might be ok for tomorrow now so I'm looking forward to the race. It's been a while since we've been consistently quick so hopefully we can make the bike better, we're going to try some set up changes in the morning and I'm feeling a lot happier on the bike.”